Mental Health: What It’s Like Living With Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and SPD

It’s difficult to write about your own mental health.

Writing this article is probably the most vulnerable I’ve been yet. I’m risking so much by writing this; people could think I’m downright crazy. I’m not only openly discussing my diagnosis, but also sharing the medicines I take to minimize my symptoms.

Honestly, I’m ready to hear the reactions. I’m in such a great place that I finally feel confident to start this discussion. My hope for this article is that you can see that despite my mental health struggles, I live a pretty average life with a loving husband and two amazing kids. I take a lot of steps to ensure that my diagnosis does not interfere with my life. 

Mental Health: What It's Like Living With Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, and SPD
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I think first, it may be helpful to recount my diagnosis.

About three years ago, I got psychological testing done at the request of my doctor. She wanted to see a complete picture of what was going on before she started prescribing me medicines. After an extensive process and lots of paperwork to fill out, the psychologist sat me down and showed me, on paper, right in front of my eyes, how I had bipolar disorder and ADHD. (There is no test for Sensory Processing Disorder. I would come to learn about that diagnosis later.) 

After that, he kind of rushed me out of the room, I’m sure, because he knew I had a million questions for him. Ever since that diagnosis, I’ve been prescribed the right kinds of medicines and no longer feel the crippling effects of bipolar disorder. My moods used to change rapidly and unexpectedly, and now I feel like I’m finally at peace. My mind is so much quieter now. Taking the right medicines was a no-brainer for me. Others may choose to try the medicine-free route, but for me, there just simply isn’t any other way. 

My ADHD is another thing altogether.

My medicine that helps with my ADHD only works during the morning and early afternoon hours, so other than that I don’t have coverage for my symptoms. I am forgetful, clumsy, a daydreamer, spacey, and so on. ADHD can be a real confidence crusher when you have spent your life working more than twice as hard as others just to get the same results. I would say out of my diagnoses, this is the one that causes me the most problems. 

Sensory processing disorder is something I only recently learned about, but it’s been a game-changer to finally get a clearer picture of who I am.

I can finally explain why I struggle with things that for others are so easy. One example is bugs. I have an insanely high phobia of bugs. If they start to get on me/biting me I have to go inside or else I will start itching and basically break out in hives. This is just one example of something I’ve experienced my whole life and only recently have learned the “why” behind it. This is a highly complex condition that I will have to save for another article, but I encourage you to read up on it. You just might know someone who has it!

All of these complex conditions reside in my brain for me to navigate.

My life has been a series of ups and downs trying to pinpoint what was causing my moods to be so erratic.  I’m so thankful to be done with that. I’ve finally found solutions, and I know not everyone gets to experience that.

I hope that by sharing my mental health story, someone might realize that they have one or more of these conditions and get the help they need.

If I can help even just one person then it will have been worth it.

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